Whale Watching in Morro Bay, Ca
We spent the afternoon Sunday on a small little boat, Sub Sea Tours Dos Osos, out on the ocean whale watching. Now by small I mean much smaller than you would expect someone to be on the ocean on, by know means an unsafe craft, I would expect the preferred method for sea going would be something about the size of the Titanic. I have never really liked the ocean and it’s size and the size of the creatures that could come and take a bite out of you and would much prefer the size and relative safety of a ship compared to the pontoon boat that we were on.
The outing started with a quick tour of the harbor, looking at the harbor seals and some of the local boats and local folks who live on the harbor.
We exited the bay on almost no waves, it was a strange feeling to have relatively nothing holding us into the bay, the seas wet much more calm than they had been before. The last time that we were out trying to see whales the ocean awl so most hostile, especially to the very same boat that we were on this time compared to the last.
Just out of the harbor we took off almost straight west looking for whale flukes, spouts of water pushed up by the whales when they surface to breath before taking another dive into the depths of the ocean, and again into the food that sustained them. During this time of the year it is the Humpback Whales that are viewable most of the year when taking a whale watching tour out of Morro Bay, California. Below you can see a photo of the fluke that we were looking for, though this one is towards Morro Rock instead of the view that we had looking for the whales.
Not long after finding a couple of whales and working our way behind them we were treated to a breaching whale, the only of the day and all I could do was watch as it landed into the water, such a powerful animal, almost hard to believe that an animal that big could come out of the water at all. The rest of the afternoon we were treated to whales almost lazily swimming through the water, they would surface and get a couple of breaths before diving down again. It’s easy to know when a dive is started, the whale tail usually comes out of the water as they angle their body’s down into the water, getting ready for the powerful strokes that takes to dive to the depths.
At times throughout the afternoon we were treated to whales nearly circling the boat, the closest instance startled us all as the whale surfaced just off the side of the boat in a direction that none of us were looking at the time. The photo below, though not a very good photo is an example of how close the whale actually was when we turned around to see it continuing on. To finish out the day we were able to see one last whale going down for a dive with Morro Rock in the background, absolutely beautiful.
The Bay at Night, Morro Bay, California
Even after all this time there are still images that can be taken of Morro Bay that hold magic for me. These images were take of Morro Bay well after the sun had set using a 5D Mark II with a wonderful 50mm 1.2 Lens. Really it’s just a bay with a wonderful Embarcadero that is still always changing. I grew up vacationing here and I think that I would be happy to continue escaping to Morro Bay for years to come so long as it doesn’t loose it’s small town feel.
Morro Bay is just a small drive from California’s Central Valley and well worth the trip to escape from the winter fog or hot summer heat.
After a quick meal at “Whales Tale” that once was near Anchor Park in Morro Bay, we drove down to the wharf and walked our boxer up and down the street to get her wiggles out and enjoy some of the nice, fresh, sea air. Stopping as often as possible take the images that you see here.
Cross Country Skiing Olympic Valley, Squaw Valley, California
Never will I be in the Winter Olympics for any sport, I am past the prime age for competing in anything except for maybe curling. Instead now I will wonder in amazement at the athletic abilities that many of the Olympic athletes have been given and take photographs of future generations of Olympic athletes as they practice their sport.
A recent trip with work to me to the site of the 1960 Olympics, held in Squaw Valley, California. I had never realized how close the Olympics had been to California’s, Central Valley. I’m certain that times were very different during the 1960 Olympics, much more simple and much more focused on the abilities of the Olympic athlete. I’m certain that there were the ski’s that were leading edge and different sports have been added such as snow boarding which would have only been a dream at that point. The idea of the Olympics though hasn’t really changed in my opinion, bring the world together to celebrate the best of the best athletes and give them the opportunity to prove who is really the best.
So in the spirit of the Olympics I decided that I had to at least try one of the sports that I find most amazing. Cross country skiing is one of the sports that has always intrigued me, sure there is luge and bobsled and there have been many wonderful showing of sportsmanship in those events but one of the events that takes an amazing amount of athletic ability and endurance is the biathlon and cross country skiing. While both envolve basically the same ski’s they are amazing for the endurance and dynamic ability that an athlete must posses to compete in them. While flying across a long distance as in the ski jump, skating on ice can draw quite a crowd the athletes that train their entire lives for every sporting event should be recognized is the same reverence.
I arrived at the Nordic rental just one hour before closing so I had to make a quick decision on what I was going to do; cross country ski or snow shoe. Either way I wouldn’t be flying across the snow, I wanted to get out take a couple of images of the Olympic Valley and the beauty that there was there. I quickly decided that I was going to try cross country, paid a half half day rate, very well worth it for me as I figured that it may very well be my only chance to try cross country. I was given boots and ski’s that were somewhat small for my size as it was my first time trying and a pretty conditioned coarse, no new snow. I put them on skied out to the machine maintained trail and started down my first hill. At very worst I was going to have to climb back up an icy steep slope to turn my ski’s back in at the Nordic Hut.
Through the rest of the experience I learned that cross country was something that I would like to do more of, but also that it uses muscles that I didn’t even know that I had. I am probably romanticising the experiance somewhat but I can’t imagine the things that I could see with a pair of cross country ski’s and photograph with even just a simple camera. There is still so much in this world to explore, every adventure a way to meet God and bring the beauty of his creation back for others to experience.
Below are some images of the images that I capture while out on the track, yes I wore jeans and yes I did fall a couple of times but it was totally worth the experience.
Monarch Butterflies at Pismo Beach, California
Every year that I can remember the Monarch Butterflies have migrated through Pismo Beach, California on their yearly trek. I have wanted frequently to make my way to the grove of tree’s that has been home to the majority of the migrating butterflies but have never found the time to see them. This year I finally took a day of the weekend and made my way there to see the migration and found many beautiful butterflies adorning the tree’s.
In the photograph above you can clearly see one of the butterflies has been tagged, this will assist with the tracking of the butterflies from the point of origin to their destination as well as the population registration. Each butterflies wings may be unique but a tag with numbers/letters is much more efficient when counting. According to historical counts, the numbers of Monarchs making the annual trip is on a steady decline with peaks every couple of years. The count as of today is more than last year but not as large as has been seen. Being really a short drive from my home in Visalia; I hope to attend the grove each year over the next couple of years in hopes of seeing a large year, instead of steady decline and collapse.
Elephant Seals, Cambria, California
We welcomed the new year in beautiful Cambria, California. There is always plenty to do in Cambira; see Hearst Castle, wine tasting through Paso Robles, visit Piedras Blancas Lighthouse or walk along Moonstone beach.
Having a limited time after visiting the downtown area to look through the art galleries, we decided that we should go and see the Elephant Seals as they were calving. Following a trip just north of Hearst Castle to see the elephant seals we stopped to photograph the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse as the sun slipped over the horizon and night set in, and the new year storm took hold.
Horses in the Fog
I don’t know that I will ever get a chance to get photographs of these horses again in the fog like this. It was a happen stance morning that brought these images to be. It was a beautifully foggy day here in the Central Valley that honestly made the photographs really worth capturing and sharing.
A full copy of the images can be viewed and purchased from here.
Thanksgiving in Pioneer
This years thanksgiving was spent in the snow, freshly fallen, everything was white and perfect when we arrived just before the roads completely froze over for the night. It was great to have the freshness of the mountains and chill of fresh snow in the air to retreat to throughout Thanksgiving day.
Cape Meares Lighthouse
We made it just before the sun set over the horizon and the Oregon summer fog made it impossible to see anything. Oregon light houses just as many of the lighthouses up and down the coasts of the United States are in area’s that take time and effort to visit, they are spread out in areas to provide the direction and safety needed. Cape Meares is just about in the middle of no where on some country roads towards the Pacific Ocean south and west of Tillamook, Oregon.
The photo above was taken with my rented 17mm TSE lens on my 5D a great combination for capturing the lighthouse in all of it’s splendor at quite a close range. Normally we would have been able to view the lighthouse from the inside with tours being offered by the conservatory, however recent to our vacation/arrival at the lighthouse some of the glass windows had been shot out by some local vandals, who I wish will soon be caught.
The views from almost all lighthouses are beautiful, I can’t imagine what it would have been like to have lived there, at least a full day’s ride/walk from the nearest town. All of the space and adventure waiting to be had just beyond the cape with so much to do to keep the lighthouse in order.
Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, Sherwood, Oregon
Photographs taken at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge
19255 SW Pacific Highway (Highway 99W)
Sherwood, OR 97140
Wine Tasting at Penner Ash, Newberg, Oregon
Wine snob or not touring Oregon’s countryside vineyards tasting their particular variate or blend of wine ensures a good time out and about and many scenic locations. With the rolling hills of the Willamette Valley, areas near Salem, and Portland nearly every winery owns or has their tasting room at the top of the hill overlooking fields upon fields of rolling hills spread out to look at in wonderment.
Oregon is host to many many wineries and even more varieties of grapes, each organized into regions, that get turned into wine. I believe that you could spend weeks and weeks trying to taste all of the wines that are created throughout even just a single year, though many are very well put together it does make me wonder what the wine that was created during the wedding that Jesus attened at the start of his ministry would have tasted like.
Though Katherine and I had previously been on a wine tasting tour in Oregon however we were unable to partake in the experience due to some health concerns. Penner and Ash was the only stop on this wine tasting trip, though I don’t know much about wine I am told that the tastes were very good, in fact many of the Penner Ash vintages are almost literally flying off of their shelves and out of their cellars for the fact of it’s great review. Though my favorite was the Shea blend We were only able to settle on the expense of 2 of their wines both very good tasting the first a blush blend, 2009 Oregon Viognier, and the second a 2007 Oregon Syrah.
Winery’s Tasting Rooms are really built to be places that you feel welcome to come and hang out, some people even bring their lunch to enjoy a bottle of wine and lunch at the vineyard overlooking its vista. Penner Ash Wine Cellar is definitely a place that I will be again in hopes to further train my pallet for each unique taste of wine.